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tour AfricENS | five factors holding back tourism in Ghana and how to solve them

Tourism is an important tool for effecting economic growth, boosting not only opportunities for employment but also having a positive knock-on effect on many other areas of society.

Efforts by Ghana to improve its tourism industry were made through the “Year of Return” programme, but this was heavily impacted by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A rebound of the industry is imperative, but this is not without its challenges, five of which are most notable:

Lack of capacity

Generally, Ghana lacks trained service professionals in the tourism sector. This limits the quality of service offered and the capacity for growth of the tourism industry.

To solve this, government must invest more in training tourism sector personnel. Additionally, educational institutions must promote and expand their tourism-related courses to attract more people to pursue these courses. In the meantime, the Ghana Tourism Authority (“GTA”) is considering setting up a training school.

The newly introduced Tourist Sites Regulations 2019 (L.I. 2393), which prescribe minimum standards for employees of tourist sites, may also encourage operators of tourist sites to invest more in training staff.

Ineffective utilisation of technology

Some tourism enterprises do not make use of technology to promote their businesses. A number of hospitality businesses in Ghana do not have websites or have very outdated websites.

To improve this, the GTA has launched a Visit Ghana app that will operate as a marketplace for tourism businesses to promote tourism in Ghana. GTA has begun onboarding tourism businesses onto the app. Users of the app can pay for tourism services, reserve hotels and book tours of Ghana.

Inadequate infrastructure

Ghana lacks adequate physical infrastructure to support tourism. The GTA has cited poor sanitation and roads as some of the factors limiting tourism in Ghana. The Public Private Partnership Forum (mandated by the Tourism Act 2011 (Act 817)) has been launched to allow private and public stakeholders in the tourism industry to work together to build the tourism sector in Ghana.

Time constraints

The GTA spends a majority of its time regulating tourism businesses. The GTA must license tourism businesses as required by the Tourism Act 2011 and also ensure tourism businesses pay the 1% tourism levy. Due to these obligations, the GTA does not have adequate time to focus on marketing tourism in Ghana. To help solve this, Ghana can introduce a tourism grading council similar to other jurisdictions like South Africa which will focus on the regulation of tourism enterprises in Ghana. This will leave the GTA with more time to focus on promoting tourism in Ghana.

Lack of targeted investment and funding in the tourism sector

The tourism sector has not been the focus of targeted growth efforts. The Year of Return project was the first of its kind to promote tourism in Ghana but more is needed to stimulate growth.

To solve this, the government of Ghana has launched the Ghana Cares program to inject funding into businesses in Ghana affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it is not specifically directed solely at tourism businesses, they can still take advantage of the funding opportunities offered to revitalise their business following COVID-19. Visit https://www.ghanacares.gov.gh/ for more information.

For more information on the considerations for tourists and tourism providers in Ghana, please click here.

Watch our webinar on tourism in Ghana: navigating the bumpy road ahead here.

For more information, please contact:

Amina Kaguah

Office Head | Ghana

akaguah@ENSafrica.com 

Lesley-Anne Owusu

Pupil

lowusu@ENSafrica.com